Psychosocial resilience in the face of a mediated terrorist threat

Year of publication: 2008
Author(s): Maeseele P.; Verleye G.; Stevens I. & A SPECKHARD
Appeared in: Media, War & Conflict, vol.: 1, issue: 1, 50-69


After 9/11, studies concerning psychological and psychiatric effects of terrorism have greatly multiplied. Media exposure to terrorism has been shown to be a vital factor in these effects. However, there is a lack of pre-trauma research assessing the resilience of the civilian population in the face of a `mediated' terrorist threat. This article discusses an eight-dimensional conceptual model of terrorism-related issues central to psychosocial resilience to terrorism. Survey results (N = 1040) are provided which present an index of these terrorism-related issues for Flanders (Belgium) in December 2004 and January 2005 and their correlations. They are also related to media use in the case of television, radio and the internet. The results clearly indicate the psychological repercussions of this terrorism threat in terms of media information-seeking behavior, risk perception and fear levels. Furthermore, the important role of government communication, the ambiguity of social support and the opposing outcomes of television and internet use are demonstrated.

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